Innovation, is it a burden or opportunity when things are difficult?
This morning I was reading an article in Business Week about the need for organizations to cut back on innovation (article). The article starts with the opening line
“When times get tough, one of the first things we do is think about what we can do without, like cutting latte consumption from five a week to two”
with which I totally agree. However an assumption in the article drives the reader to believe that INNOVATION = NEW PRODUCT – it does not and cannot.
Byrd & Brown in their book “The Innovation Equation” define the innovation equation to mean INNOVATION=CREATIVITY x RISK TAKING, where creativity and risk taking are behaviours rather than processes. With this approach in mind innovation should be a part of the way organizations equip themselves to cope in difficult times.
True innovation is not limited to product and market development, but to any change the organization faces.
Innovation at Honda
Honda in the UK have had a difficult few months, but rather than lay people off, they have taken the innovative stance of shutting the factory for four months with employees on full pay for two months and then 60% for the remainder, with the commitment to keep all employed when they open the factory again – it would have been so easy just to lay people off as other firms are doing.
Innovation is culture
Innovation in its true sense is a culture, a leadership style not an R&D process. In our organizations we need to develop and review what we do on a regular basis, using the drivers of innovation – Ambiguity, Independance, Uniqueness, Authentic Resilient we can ensure our organizations are in the best position to both survive and be prepared for the resulting growth in the fiture.
believe we need to innovate like we have never done before – not stagnate.
For information on the Creatrix (Byrds approach to innovation) see The Creatrix